Jerusalem Official: PA has De Facto Control Parts of Capital

Who rules eastern Jerusalem? Netanyahu insists capital is undivided but a Jerusalem official says the PA already has partial de facto control.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 13:22

Jerusalem Arab and PA, Hizbullah flags
Jerusalem Arab and PA, Hizbullah flags
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli control over eastern Jerusalem is a "fiction” while the Palestinian Authority has a presence in many areas, a Jerusalem official charged. Municipal council member Yakir Shegev, who oversees issues concerning eastern Jerusalem, told Arutz Sheva that the PA issues building permits in parts of the Old City and “is slowly taking control of the eastern part of the capital.”


Shegev also revealed that the Education Ministry pays the salaries of Arab teachers in eastern Jerusalem, where the PA administers students’ matriculation examinations. “It is absurd that the tests are checked in Ramallah while teachers receive money from us,” he added.


The official charged that the Netanyahu government, similar to previous administrations, has ignored the needs of the Arab community “as if the future of eastern Jerusalem is not clear…and that these problems will be someone else’s concern in a few years. The PA serves most of the Arab residents and repairs roads, giving it more de facto control.”


Shegev maintained it is not too late for Israel to regain authority over the entire capital and that demolitions of illegal buildings, such as those carried out on Wednesday, are a small step against massive illegal construction.


“If there is not supervision over illegal building and if we do not hand out parking tickets and collect taxes [and take care of Arab needs], it won’t be surprising if riots break out similar to those earlier this month.”


Shegev also expressed concern over this week’s resignation of Meretz City Council member Meir Margalit, who protested demolitions of illegal Arab homes and warned they will "end up with an explosion.” Shegev pointed out that previous permits to tear down illegal Arab houses were authorized in cooperation with left-wing council members and that he “fears other elements will try to take political advantage” of Margalit’s resignation.